You can sell your panties, socks, gym shorts, nylons and stockings, hair bands and just about any other item that touches your physical person. You also can sell your Snapchat and your phone number and do #OnlyFans.
But so can everyone one else, as long as it doesn’t violate a contract with a network. So, what else can you do to earn extra income?
Spreadshirt Merchandising — an org aiming to “empower social media pop cult-ivators to spread their influence on merchandise” — recently published a listicle entitled “7 Things to Sell Besides T-Shirts (that your followers will actually buy!).”
Taking content offline and into “real life” has become par for the course for influential creators. The most effective way to build that in real life (IRL) connection with fans is through DIY merchandising, personalized by the creators. The act of having your follower take out their wallet and financially support the influencer is far more powerful than a like or share.
So, what do these civilian marketers suggest personalizeing, and will it work for cam? Here are some ideas.
Sweatpants: Influencers hardly ever make merch for the lower half of the body, but don’t disregard uber-comfortable activewear. Fans are always looking for a way to spice up snuggle time, as demonstrated by one very popular YouTube star that singlehandedly brought these back in style. Perhaps you’ve heard of Miranda Sings and her “Haters Back Off” sweatpants?
Erika’s Note: I have not heard of Miranda Sings and the idea of phrases-on-the-butt sweatpants sounds very 15-years-ago, a la Juicy Couture, to me. But maybe if the personalization was on some sassy leggings?
Book Bags: When Generation Z-ers aren’t in the classroom, they can only be one other place: snapping through social platforms for entertainment. They’d love to bring a piece of you into their everyday haul, so create a must-have backpack to be the talk of the clique.
Erika’s Note: Screw the backpack. Tote bag!
Mugs: Mugs make a perfect everyday collectible for everyone 18-plus who digs your content. A mug can double as a confersation piece, so you may get fan referrals from your loyal followers.
Erika’s Note: This one is a no-brainer. Gimme two!
Fashion T-Shirts: Boxy, oversized T-shirts are not sexy. They are offered so frequently, your audience has been there, done that and they’re requesting an upgrade. Try a slim-fit V-neck or an off-the-shoulder sweatshirt for a trendy option.
Erika’s Note: There is something to be said for a high-quality fitted T or something ultra-cute like a baseball T, but don’t knock the “ordinary” boxy T. A clever person with some scissors can take personalization to the next level here, and let’s be honest: Most dudes won’t say no to a well-made shirt.
Hats: Trucker hats, beanies and pom-poms galore! Hats are an easy add-on accessory to any outfit and, best of all, they are unisex and universally cool.
Erika’s Note: I just got another early-2000s Juicy Couture flashback, but now it comes with a Limp Bizkit soundtrack. But, if your schtick can rock it, more power to ya!
Books: Offer your fans the ultimate access to everything that’s all about you. Many influencers are writing books or short stories to give their audience an added glimpse into their life and personality. With Amazon book publishing, you can self-publish a digital book for free and even turn it into an audio book.
Erika’s Note: This is a niche item for sure, and one that takes a bit more heavy lifting, but don’t be intimidated. There are services that will do everything from editing what you write to ghostwriting the whole damn thing. Email me for some references.
Tank Tops: There’s no reason to sell standard T-shirts year round when your audience is craving more weather-appropriate items. Design some tank tops in early June and offer them in your shop until the end of August — right in time to swap them out for chilly-weather gear like hoodies. This keeps your shop fresh with relevant apparel and also instills a sense of urgency to purchase the seasonal stuff before it’s gone.
Erika’s Note: Oh my gosh, as long as they are long enough in the torso!
Now, clearly my take on each of these items is entirely subjective. Each one of these ideas has as much potential to be awesome as it does to be silly; as likely to be edgy as it is dated. The key point with each is that they require marketing, hustle and financial outlay on your part. If you don’t go with a print-on-demand option, you’ll have stock lying around. Where will you keep it? How will you handle shipments? The questions go on, but there are plenty of models with custom items in their stores — Anna Bell Peaks for instance. You can do it too!
Give it a few minutes thought. Will your guys love a hat with a special insignia of your own design on it? Will your Twitter followers brandish a picture of your tits on a tank top? Probably, if you come up with the correct item for your squad and market the heck out of it!
You think I was joking about the early-2000s? “Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water” came out in 2000 — the soundtrack for trucker hats and Juicy butt tracksuits, for reals. This little ditty was the highlight.